Illustration of the origin of magnetic fields in white dwarfs in close binaries (to be read counter clockwise). The magnetic field appears when a crystallizing white dwarf accretes from a companion star and as a consequence starts to spin rapidly. When the white dwarfs field connects with the field of […]

Remnants of planetary crust disintegrating under the tidal forces around a cool white dwarf. Material in the disc becomes vapourised close to the central star and flows onto the white dwarf atmosphere. Credit: University of Warwick/Mark Garlick Remnants of planets with Earth-like crusts have been discovered in the atmospheres of […]

Artist’s interpretation of the explosion of a recurrent nova, RS Ophiuchi. This is a binary star in the constellation of Ophiuchus and is approximately 5,000 light-years away. It explodes roughly every 20 years when the gas flowing from the large star that falls onto the white dwarf reaches temperatures exceeding […]

Animation For just the second time ever, astrophysicists have spotted a spectacular flash of ultraviolet (UV) light accompanying a white dwarf explosion. An extremely rare type of supernova, the event is poised to offer insights into several long-standing mysteries, including what causes white dwarfs to explode, how dark energy accelerates the cosmos […]